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5 things to know about working a physically demanding job

Many workers like jobs that involve physical labor. They like to get their hands dirty – whether that means working in construction or manufacturing or being a food service employee or cleaning person. Yet physically demanding jobs come with a cost: your body can take a beating. Heavy lifting and repetitive tasks can leave you suffering from back pain, knee pain and more.

If you work a physically demanding job, you need to take care of your body – to minimize your job’s impact on your overall health. Here five things you should know for taking care of your body when you have a physically demanding job:

  1. Understand your workplace ergonomics. How might your normal job duties affect your posture, your back, your knees, your shoulders or your wrists? Are there ways to reduce the stress you are putting on your body through ergonomics? You should talk to your employer about better workplace ergonomics if your employer doesn’t address it in your job training.
  2. Wear your personal protective equipment. If you work a manual labor job, you never know what can happen. If you are in manufacturing, a piece of material can fly off a part and hit you in the eye. If you work in construction, years of being around heavy equipment can impact your hearing. You want to ensure you are always wearing eye protection and ear protection and other protective gear.
  3. Practice proper lifting techniques and posture to save your back. You need to always lift with your knees instead of your back and keep a straight back while lifting. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help to lift something especially heavy.
  4. Start your day by stretching. Before you begin your workday, you want to get some stretching exercises in. You can stretch your arms, legs and back and warm up your shoulder and neck muscles to prepare for the day.
  5. Report any workplace injury as soon as possible and seek medical treatment. If you are injured at work, you want to report your injury to your employer immediately. You want to ensure you receive worker’s compensation to cover the costs of your recovery. To receive full workers’ comp benefits, you need to seek treatment immediately too (often from an employer-approved doctor).

Working a physical job can give you a great deal of satisfaction. You can see how your efforts impact building, creating or fixing something for others to enjoy. By taking care of your body, you can enjoy your work for years to come, reducing your chances of a workplace injury.